Singapore: Myanmar's President on Monday pledged
to establish a "healthy democracy" after nearly half a century
of iron-fisted military rule as he sought Singapore's help to
modernise the creaking economy.
President Thein Sein, in Singapore for a four-day state
visit, also appealed to the global community to continue
encouraging Myanmar on its reform path, saying the transition
period was fraught with challenges.
"The international community should render its support and
encouragement to our effort to meet our objectives because a
young democratic nation has emerged on this planet," Thein
Sein told a lavish state dinner held in his honour.
"We have turned a new page in our country in order to
create better conditions in Myanmar. We want to give a
brighter future for our people.
"We want our people to take part in the democratic reform
process and we want democracy to thrive in Myanmar. I wish to
assure you that I shall endeavour to establish a healthy
democracy in Myanmar."
The ex-general and former member of Myanmar's feared junta
added that "since we are on the right track to democracy we
shall overcome these challenges with great care and proceed
ahead till we reach our goals".
Thein Sein was appointed president in February last year
after November 2010 elections that have ushered in reforms in
Myanmar that have surprised international observers, though
the West is demanding more still be done.
Earlier today, Thein Sein met Singapore Prime Minister Lee
Hsien Loong and the pair witnessed the signing by their
foreign ministers of an agreement under which Singapore will
provide training for reforms in the legal, banking and
The pact also calls on Singapore to share its best
practices in trade, tourism and urban planning. Resource-rich
but largely untapped Myanmar in return offers attractive
opportunities for Singapore businesses.
Thein Sein was accompanied by a top-level delegation which
included business leaders and top ministers in charge of
economic portfolios, underlining the importance of the trip to
Myanmar's nominally civilian government.
Singapore President Tony Tan said the wealthy city-state
would strengthen economic cooperation and business links with
Myanmar, as the country emerges from decades of political and
First Published: Tuesday, January 31, 2012, 10:17